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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Links - 31st July 2018 (1)

Majority of mass shootings carried out by white men - "According to a Mother Jones database of U.S. mass shootings since 1982, 54 percent of the 97 mass shootings have been carried out by white men. Black men accounted for roughly 16 percent of the total incidents during the same period of time, raising the question of why white men are over-represented in these incidents and why law enforcement and media are reluctant to profile them for these heinous crimes.
According to the Vintage 2016 Population Estimates, 76.9% of the US is white and 61.3% is non-Hispanic white. And 13.3% are black. Given that there're very few women mass shooters, the question of why white men are over-represented in these incidents isn't even uninteresting - it's misleading

Road vigilante leaves turtle colouring exercise for S’pore driver who can’t park within space lines

Study: For those over 90, alcohol better than exercise for longevity - "Researchers discovered that subjects who drank about two glasses of beer or wine a day were 18 percent less likely to experience a premature death, the Independent reports. Meanwhile, participants who exercised 15 to 45 minutes a day, cut the same risk by 11 percent... Other factors were found to boost longevity, including weight. Participants who were slightly overweight — but not obese — cut their odds of an early death by 3 percent... Subjects who kept busy with a daily hobby two hours a day were 21 percent less likely to die early, while those who drank two cups of coffee a day cut that risk by 10 percent"

Why you shouldn't exercise to lose weight, explained with 60+ studies - "1) An evolutionary clue to how our bodies burn calories...
"While the hunter-gatherers were physically active and lean, they actually burned the same amount of calories every day as the average American or European, even after the researchers controlled for body size."...
2) Exercise is excellent for health
3) Exercise alone is almost useless for weight loss
4) Exercise accounts for a small portion of daily calorie burn...
We have very little control over our basal metabolic rate, but it's our biggest energy hog. "It's generally accepted that for most people, the basal metabolic rate accounts for 60 to 80 percent of total energy expenditure," Kravitz said. Digesting food accounts for about 10 percent. That leaves only 10 to 30 percent for physical activity, of which exercise is only a subset...
5) It's hard to create a significant calorie deficit through exercise
6) Exercise can undermine weight loss in other, subtle ways...
people seemed to increase their food intake after exercise — either because they thought they burned off a lot of calories or because they were hungrier...
7) Exercise may cause physiological changes that help us conserve energy...
Despite going from being mostly sedentary to spending a couple of hours exercising almost every day, the participants only lost about 11 pounds on average, ranging from as little as 2 pounds to just over 17 pounds, almost all due to fat loss. The participants also burned 22 percent fewer calories through exercise than the researchers calculated prior to the study starting... either subjects' basal metabolic rates slowed down or subjects were expending less energy outside of their two-hour daily exercise block...
8) Energy expenditure might have an upper limit
9) The government and the food industry are doling out unscientific advice...
"Physical activity is vital to the health and well-being of consumers," Coca-Cola says. The company has been aligning itself with exercise since the 1920s, and was recently exposed by the New York Times for funding obesity researchers who emphasize a lack of physical activity as the cause of the epidemic...
10) So what actually works for weight loss?...
people who have had success losing weight have a few things in common: They weigh themselves at least once a week. They restrict their calorie intake, stay away from high-fat foods, and watch their portion sizes. They also exercise regularly. But note: These folks use physical activity in addition to calorie counting and other behavioral changes. Every reliable expert I've ever spoken to on weight loss says the most important thing a person can do is limit calories in a way they like and can sustain, and focus on eating healthfully. In general, diet with exercise can work better than calorie cutting alone, but with only marginal additional weight loss benefits."

Four motorised scooter riders jailed for beating up pedestrian - "Four motorised scooter riders went to find a man one of them had collided with in a park and beat him up. They might have got away with it had one of them not lost his phone in the fight - for when Tan Wee How later tried calling his own number it was answered by a police officer."

Pavlovian conditioning and 'correct thinking' on the South China Sea - "China has argued that it was not the first to reclaim land or deploy military assets in the SCS. This may be true but is irrelevant. The speed and scope of China's reclamation dwarf anything any other claimant has done and the actions of a major power will always convey a different signature than those of small countries. China's argument that the infrastructure it has built is a common good for the benefit of all users of the SCS hardly seems intended to be believed. China continues to engage Asean on a code of conduct (COC) for the SCS but in a barely convincing way. Progress has been glacial and Chinese diplomats often hold discussions on the COC hostage to Asean refraining from taking positions on the SCS that displease China. On occasion, Chinese diplomats even seem to have perversely gone out of their way to accentuate rather than assuage anxieties. Once, after our Prime Minister spoke on the SCS at an Asean Summit, a senior Chinese diplomat told one of my younger colleagues that "silence is golden". If he meant to suggest that we were not entitled to a view on an important issue that affects our interests, he only undermined the credibility of China's claim to "peaceful development".... The general attitude that such attempts illustrate is not confined to the SCS issue but sometimes is on display even in seemingly trivial matters. Some years before I retired, one of my counterparts from an Asean country that was then holding the Asean chair told me that the Chinese ambassador to his country had forced him to shift an Asean leader attending a summit out of a hotel that had already been allocated to that Asean delegation so that then Premier Wen Jiabao could stay there. The ambassador insisted on this although the hotel allocated to Premier Wen was of equal quality. Did Premier Wen know where he was staying?... Chinese diplomats often profess bewilderment that China's generosity towards Asean has not evoked gratitude or assuaged mistrust, and they pretend to ascribe this to malignant external influences. I do not think that Chinese diplomats are more inept or disingenuous than the diplomats of other countries. Their behaviour is, I think, better understood as illustrating the passive-aggressive style and the positing of false dilemmas to force acceptance of China's inherent superiority as the natural normative order of East Asian international relations - or at least South-east Asian international relations because I doubt that Japan will ever accept the Chinese notion of regional order characteristic of Chinese diplomacy... China does not merely want consideration of its interests. China expects deference to its interests to be internalised by Asean members as a mode of thought; as not just a correct calculation of Asean interests vis-a-vis China but "correct thinking: which leads to "correct behaviour"... This differentiates Chinese diplomacy from the diplomacy of other major powers... China does not even acknowledge that many areas contested by Asean claimants are in dispute
China's peaceful rise
So much for American hegemony

What 18-year-olds tell us about Singapore's future - "When Mr Lee visited Australia during my term as High Commissioner, he asked me to organise tea with ex-Singaporean migrants in Perth. He wanted to hear from them why they chose Australia over Singapore. When one of them told him that he gave up a well-paid job in Singapore to migrate there so that he could work half-day and go fishing in the afternoon, Mr Lee nearly fell off his chair. He just could not understand why anybody would make such a lifestyle choice. To Mr Lee, it was irrational. You see, Mr Lee came from the era when the term "work-life balance" had not been invented. To him, life was work and work was life - it was the same thing, no need to balance the two... Why are our best students fearful of taking the less trodden paths? Why do so many choose to be public servants, lawyers and doctors, and go to the same universities in the US and UK? Why do they apply for government scholarships and not launch into business like Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg?... The majority of those we interview do not score highly on creativity and imagination. Only a few are deemed by the psychologists as being able to think out of the box and to offer unconventional ideas and solutions... Many years ago, I invited the American innovation guru Gary Hamel and then Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina to Singapore to brief our senior public servants and politicians. They spent a whole day explaining how innovation requires experimentation and repeated failures. The response from the audience was, at best, lukewarm. One minister told me that it was not feasible in our government culture to get people to accept failure; we were too focused on success."

Someone actually made a video called SMRT CEO Conversion Course

When religion becomes a deal breaker - "“Firqin, it seems like your love will never be unconditional. It will only be on the condition that I convert into Islam"... When it came to my future and marriage, I was certain: my partner had to be Muslim. The culmination of stories I heard over the years did not help. Stories of Muslims and non-Muslims would always end in tragedy. The Malay-Muslim person gets ostracized from their family and their new partner would never be accepted, or there would just be a lot of family members crying. Although I knew that Muslim men are free to marry women from other Abrahamic faiths while Muslim women are not allowed to marry outside their faith, this was not something I questioned, though it did not sit well with me. Marrying a Muslim was normalized to become law. I did not question the law. The Malay dramas were not helpful either. Successful romantic relationships were always based on the idea that both partners were working towards loving God or becoming an orthodox, conservative Muslim. There were no narratives that showed inter-religious marriages built on mutual respect, co-existence, partnership and commitment. If there were stories of inter-racial and inter-religious relationships, someone would end up converting into Islam. Hence, the idea of an inter-religious marriage seemed unfathomable and almost blasphemous to me... My obsession with the minutiae of religion and how I would be judged by my community, family and friends consumed me... I selfishly bullied Max into my religion. I was extremely unfair to him, and blinded to all his good deeds just because he was not Muslim"

iPhone’s weirdest glitch yet: Ask Siri to define “mother” twice, learn a bad word - " "As a noun," the computer-generated voice said as of press time, "it means, short for 'motherfucker.'""

GTA: San Andreas too sexy, literally - "the hilarity of it all is that we've got people complaining about sex in a game that ranks in the top five "pro violence" games on the market. Sex is bad, but cappin' those fools who just keep steppin' is just dandy"

A Letter To My Younger Self | Single Mothers by Choice - "all of that money you’ve pissed away on travel, fun, clothes, hot shoes, dinners out, and wine tastings will be chump change compared to the tens of thousands of dollars you’ll spend on fertility treatments or adopting. Yes, you’ll have to actually pay for sperm (I know—it’s shocking to have to pay for it when you used to get it for free). And then you’ll have to pay for it to be put into your hooha while numerous medical staff gaze at your nether regions intently. Sexy, huh? Yeah, not fun. And I hope you like needles because you’ll be spending many a night trying to find the right position to jab a needle into some spot on one of your cheeks that isn’t inflamed by shot after shot of hormones you’ll need to get and stay pregnant — if you are one of the lucky ones who does conceive."
And people slam the Singaporean government for saying the same thing

Glamourising the 'Childfree Life' Ignores Reality for Most Childless Women - "There has been a steep rise in childless women from 1976, when the U.S. Census first began recording fertility rates. Then, 35 percent of women of fertile age were childless. Today, that number is 49 percent... By the end of our fertile years, about one sixth of women (17%) are childless. Survey data indicates that this group is likely to want to have children in the context of marriage, or at least long-term co-habitation. And when they do finally have children at late-fertile age, they are likely to bear more children than the average mother... 80 percent of unmarried women are childless, and of those, 81 percent plan or hope to have children one day. This is not how the phenomenon is portrayed in the media... Marc Kalan, a board certified reproductive endocrinologist whom I interviewed for Otherhood told me that no patients of his are more compliant than the women who come to him in their late thirties and forties, who have not found a partner, and want to have a baby. Even those with a less than 5 percent chance of conception are undeterred."
So much for "stereotypes"

FACT CHECK: Coca-Cola Dissolves Teeth - "Coca-Cola contains acids (such as citric acid and phosphoric acid) which will eventually dissolve items such as teeth (given enough time), but so do plenty of other substances we commonly ingest (such as orange juice). The concentration of acid in these products is so low that our digestive systems are easily capable of coping with it with no harm to us.
The idea that any substance which can dissolve teeth must therefore damage our teeth if we drink it is nonsensical. We don’t hold drinks in our mouths for days at a time — any liquids we drink simply wash over our teeth very briefly, and our teeth are further protected by their enamel coating and the ameliorating effects of saliva."

State-owned companies "surprisingly successful" - "When comparing Norwegian government-owned companies to other European companies within the same industry, research shows that five out the six companies studied have performed better during the past ten years. According to Norvik, the success is based on the government's role as owner, and that it has chosen to involve few other private owners, but rather use the stock market; that the government differentiates between its role as owner and regulating authority; manages the companies as other owners through the board; follows the rules for good company management; and treats all shareholders as equals"

Time Out City Index 2018: apparently Singapore is boring? - "According to the results of the Time Out City Life Index – a poll of 15,000 people – Singapore takes the 31st spot in a ranking of 32 of the world's most exciting cities, some would even say that makes our city boring compared to the rest. And to add more insult to injury, only 66% of the 235 people surveyed actually enjoy living here, a stark contrast to 89% of people living in Tokyo or 78% of Hong Kongers. There are plenty of reasons for this. Common complaints include a lack of kindness and politeness – 20% of people polled think that this is the biggest issue facing the city – overcrowding (19%), a lack of social integration (10%) and insufficient support for the elderly (9%). Within a 24-hour period, 55% of people living here report feeling stressed, 43% feel lonely and 35% feel sleep-deprived. Yikes. We also work longer hours on average compared to other cities around the world, so that explains things... 58% of people think living in Singapore is a rip-off... Only 17% of respondents think that there's always something to see and do in Singapore's art and culture scene – one of the lowest out of the cities surveyed. Our live music and nightlife scenes don't rank too well either"

Is Yogurt Healthy? - "Inflammation, the body’s immune response to invaders, can be a good thing—it’s how our wounds heal, for example. But a steady, low-level simmer of inflammation in the body is associated with diseases like asthma and arthritis, as well as obesity, metabolic syndrome, and heart disease... the yogurt-eating group saw improvements in some markers of inflammation"
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